Gazette Daily News Podcast, Dec. 4, 2020

Principal Denise Pape greets students as they arrive by bus for the first day of school, Sept. 21, at Viola Gibson Eleme
Principal Denise Pape greets students as they arrive by bus for the first day of school, Sept. 21, at Viola Gibson Elementary School in Cedar Rapids. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

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Here’s your daily update for Dec. 4, 2020:

Iowa Coronavirus Case Growth Continues Downward Trend

Coronavirus cases continue to drop for the 9th day of decrease in a row as daily new cases have dropped by nearly 2,000 since the peak on November 18th down to 2,073 on Wednesday. Hospitalizations also continue to trend downward, including the number of patients in the ICU and on ventilators. Despite these drops, the state reported 70 deaths in a 24-hour period yesterday. The number of deaths has also been trending down, but this is likely the result of the recent spike in cases.

Over 230 in Linn County told they were positive for COVID-19, but they weren't

Based on bad information it received, Linn County Public Health notified scores of people they had tested positive for COVID-19 when they actually hadn’t.

The letter from the department said that on Nov. 23, Linn County Public Health was notified of incorrect lab results for tests collected between Nov. 14 and 16 due to an error in the lab’s reporting process.

In a statement provided to The Gazette, Weland Clinical Laboratories, with headquarters in Cedar Rapids, said the test results were correct — but the results reported to public health officials were not.

Governor Reynolds says there’s a 'Light at end of tunnel' with coronavirus vaccine's arrival pending

The first batches of the vaccine will arrive in Iowa later this month, and are destined for long-term care facility staff and residents. While Reynolds said this was an encouraging development she urged people to remain vigilant in the coming months and to maintain efforts to mitigate the virus and avoid another surge.

Cedar Rapids schools returning to in-person classes Monday

The schools cutting short a two-week virtual waiver, citing a decrease in staff absences and the number of positive COVID-19 in Linn County. The district also is updating its quarantine guidance based on recommendations from the CDC, shortening the duration of quarantine from 14 days to 10 days for anyone who’s come into contact with someone with the virus but has no symptoms. Schools that had in-person learning before the waiver will return to school Monday, Dec. 7. That includes all elementary schools, Metro High School, Polk Alternative Education and Harding, Roosevelt and Wilson middle schools.

Four schools that have been repaired from derecho damage in August will resume in-person classes for the first time this year on Wednesday, Dec. 9. Those schools are Franklin and McKinley middle schools and Jefferson and Washington high schools.

All high school athletics and activities can resume beginning Saturday.

Iowa sees drop in new unemployment claims after six weeks of increases

The drop was the state’s largest single-week drop in new claims since May. Construction was the largest source of claims with 1,273, followed by manufacturing with 983, self-employed and independent contractors with 554, accommodation and food services with 455 and health care and social assistance with 406. About 53 percent of people filing claims said their unemployment was not related to coronavirus.